Keep Handwriting from Becoming a Lost Art!

This lens celebrates the ability for a human being to hold a writing implement in one hand and create beautiful symbols called letters and words on a flat surface, usually paper.

IT'S ABOUT TO BE A LOST ART!!!

The upcoming generation is no longer being taught cursive writing in public school. Text Messaging and Instant Messaging with "autofill" is on the verge of annihilating proper grammar, punctuation, spelling, and of course, penmanship. But for millennia, societies worldwide have prized penmanship as a status symbol. Calligraphers and Stenographers, Clerks and Congressmen prided themselves on "a fine hand." From China to England, from the Constitution to Invitations, good handwriting has represented culture, tact, care, patience, and beauty. Who doesn't love to receive a handwritten letter or a party invitation written in calligraphy?

January 23 is National Handwriting Day. So here's a lens to honor those who still wish to develop "a fine hand," no matter where in the world it's happening, or in what language, or with what object.

Jane Austen Manuscript

Jane Austen Handwriting Jane Austen (one of my favorite authors) claims she had mediocre penmanship.

The woman had to hand-write every single word of every single novel, play, poem and creative work she ever composed. In the course of her short life, she completed 38 works and started 2 others, including 6 full-length novels and a short novella.

And still, her handwriting was better than most of ours today!

The Need for Penmanship to Be Taught in Public Schools

I was appalled when I learned that our public school systems were removing script writing (also known as cursive or long hand) from the curriculum. It worries me so much that future generations will not have this skill. In the technology and information ages, I understand how easy it is to default to the argument, “With modern technology, we don’t need to know how to write by hand anymore. Pretty soon, we won’t even have to type anything. Eventually, we won’t even have to say anything!” These statements may be true, but are they to our long-term advantage as a people? Here are some of my concerns, both in the present and the future.

1) Losing the skill of cursive writing is presently creating a communication gap between adults who write longhand and their grandchildren who can’t read it. Getting letters, cards, or notes in the mail now need to be translated by a parent or teacher.

2) Cursive writing is a more controlled method of writing than quick or short hand; to learn it requires the development of fine motor skills that are missing in other writing or typing methods. These skills include eye-hand coordination, muscle memory, grip, and control.

3) A few generations from now, without the ability to write in cursive, our future historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and other social scientists will have increasing trouble in deciphering our past and present records, legal documents, personal letters, manuscripts, and other hand-written documents. There will be an increase in inaccuracies and disagreements about interpretation. It is the same phenomenon already experienced by biblical archaeologists and Bible interpreters who pore over ancient manuscripts of dead languages. Not having good reference material makes translation and interpretation work very challenging.

4) Cursive has historically been associated with elegance. There is nothing elegant about texting, 140 character Tweets, or emoticons.

5) Long hand is the language of signatures. Our future progeny will have a diminished capacity for creating unique personal signatures, which is one of the first things students of cursive get excited about developing. How many of us worked for a long time to develop a grown-up looking cursive “proper” signature to use when signing our homework, notes, folders, textbooks, or legal documents? It was fun!

So What's Your Response?

(Based on the list above)

What Is the Worst Thing About Losing Cursive?

  Show the poll results
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  • nancycarol Jan 26, 2014 @ 8:15 pm
    I totally agree. Cursive writing should be a basic in the school curriculum. I also believe it helps students to think better too. We have "dumbed down" our kids, by not teaching them this skill.
  • crbphotography Jan 26, 2014 @ 4:30 pm
    Your lens is dead on. I wonder how the next generation will be able to sign cheques or legal documents without knowing cursive? One can look at many web sites where people comment on information on the web site and the grammar is embarrassing; the misspelling terrible. It does not leave one with a good impression about the writer's intelligence or education.
  • Pastiche Jan 23, 2014 @ 9:46 am
    It's conceivable that with the loss of obvious skills from not learning to write in cursive, future generations may also become unable to read old documents ... that smacks of illiteracy to me.

My (Horrible) Handwriting

My Personal Handwriting Samples Here are samples of my handwriting using my favorite GIANT pen, both cursive and print. It’s okay…you can laugh.

Handwriting of the Constitution

Constitution of United States of America Our constitution was drafted in gorgeous script.

YouTube Writing Tutorials

YouTube videos about Calligraphy and Penmanship.
Practical Advice to Help Improve Handwriting
by dystalk | video info
13 ratings | 7,887 views
curated content from YouTube

Featured Lens

Teaching Cursive

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How-To Links Online

Online resources for developing good handwriting skills. Essential tools for homeschooling parents, tutors, classroom teachers, and professionals assisting students with learning disabilities.
Paperpenalia
Improvement tips.
Handwriting Without Tears
Curriculum for teaching pain-free handwriting.
Handwriting Analysis
Handwriting Analysis.
Chinese Calligraphy
Includes images, how-to and history of Chinese Calligraphy. Beautiful!
Begin Calligraphy
Calligraphy in the English Language, how-to.

Chinese Calligrapher Prodigy

Ye Genyou, Calligraphy Prodigy Calligraphy is from the Greek words kallos (beauty) and graphe (writing). Chinese calligraphy is a style of beauty writing composed of energy in motion, rhythm, visual aesthetic, contrast, patience, accuracy, artistry and fluidity. It is difficult to master in all its many forms and nuances, and is widely considered as much a spiritual practice as it is an artistic one.

Ye Genyou demonstrating amazing calligraphy skills in this photograph. Copy and paste this URL into your browser to read about this prodigy. http://www.chinese-tools.com/china/crazy/2008-09-22-express-calligraphy.html

Handwriting Analysis Lenses

Analyze This, Squids!

Squid lenses focused on the practice of HANDWRITING ANALYSIS. Learn something about yourself (or our Presidential Candidates!).
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This Lens Was Sprinkled With Angel Dust!

My Other Literary Lenses

I love books, reading, writing, and all things verbal. Here are some lenses that reflect those interests.
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(This is my guestbook! Leave a signature)

So do you have a favorite pen or stylus? Do you still write in long hand? I do! I find that I actually write faster when I write in cursive than any other way.

Please leave a note and let me know you were here.
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  • Arachnea Mar 09, 2014 @ 11:01 pm
    Great lens. Thanks for writing it. I learned cursive style writing in school and have always enjoyed writing by hand. I still write letters to friends and family by hand. You're right, the loss will be more wide reaching than just the loss of the skill by students.
  • Aibrean82 Feb 07, 2014 @ 10:41 pm
    My fiance is the CEO at a major company and he has a favourite Mont Blanc fountain pen. His writing has always been terrible, but he still insists on using this pen to write personal thank you notes to a whole bunch of people at work rather than a group-email. I love it! He has given me a beautiful Faber-Castell pen which I just adore, and I use it when I write my first drafts of all my lenses.
    Really great lens! Thanks for sharing it :)
  • nancycarol Jan 26, 2014 @ 8:20 pm
    Yes, actually several of them. However, I no longer use them as much because of hand tremors that prevent my writing from being legible. I hate that, because when I write now to relatives, grandkids and great-grandkids, I use few words because my hand doesn't cooperate.
  • jsr54 Jan 25, 2014 @ 10:24 am
    Yes, I still write in cursive and they still teach it at our parochial school! My 4th grade daughter is required to write in cursive and I couldn't be happier about this skill being taught and maintained. I believe we have to combine the old and the new in this age of technology for a balanced education.
  • Yosemite Jan 24, 2014 @ 10:49 pm
    I tend to be a prolific note-taker in my work. I find that I switch from cursive to printing, sometimes in the middle of a word!
    I am a hobbyist calligrapher and bemoan the fact that cursive writing is not being taught in schools now. It is a shame, travesty and a theft from our younger generation who will never know the feeling of satisfaction in writing down their thoughts.
    This is an excellent article.

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